Senator Ted Gaines Seeks AG Investigation of Cal Fire Hidden Funds
I recently sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris requesting an investigation into the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) following reports revealing that the agency hid $3.6 million with the California District Attorneys Association instead of depositing it into the state’s general fund.
This is a very serious and disturbing matter that calls for a thorough investigation by the Attorney General to determine whether there are any related criminal charges that should be brought. Hiding funds outside the state system with an organization that is profiting from the account simply reeks of wrongdoing and demands to be looked into.
This news comes on the heels of the California Department of Parks and Recreation concealing $20 million in a hidden account last year. Following that revelation, auditors found more than $200 million that other state agencies had stashed away.
How can the state get away with charging rural Californians a $150 illegal fire fee specifically to support Cal Fire operations, and at the same time Cal Fire is hiding millions in a secret fund? It’s no wonder there is such a high level of distrust between the government and its citizens. We deserve to know the truth behind what took place and why.
I also strongly support the efforts of the joint Assembly and Senate committee hearings into whether there are millions more hiding completely off the grid.
Unfortunately, our oversized government makes it far too easy for state agencies to get away with this kind of activity and have it go unnoticed for years. I welcome the joint committee hearings and commit to working with my colleagues to determine necessary reforms to put a stop to this unethical behavior and return any funds where they belong - with California’s taxpayers.